What We Do In Secret

by Jared Bayless

An Excerpt from his book, “Breadcrumbs.”

Mark 6:14-29

“What we do in secret will be brought to light. What we do in light will
try to be kept a secret by what’s lurking in the darkness. Our actions
have consequences for both good and bad. It’s like a tightrope act.
One nudge either direction and we could fall and for some reason we
are carrying a delicious casserole someone asked us to hold for them,
which really complicates things.

Evil does not tolerate righteousness and vice versa. Darkness cannot
drive out light, but as darkness grows in size and the more wandering
we do, the fainter the light becomes. It becomes a mirage that we
aren’t sure ever existed the further we drift from it. We drove it out

There was a man named Herod Antipas who was king and enjoyed
talking to John the Baptist. Herod was not a righteous man and John
certainly was. John told it like it was. He was my kind of guy. But
Herod married his brother’s wife, Herodias (they apparently ran out
of names back then). John shined light on it and told him it was sinful
to do so. He was kind, but honest. Herodias hated John for this and
wanted to kill him.

Most people are fine with God’s word on an informational level. It’s
when we are confronted with the darkness we allow in our souls that
the conflict arises. Theologian Matthew Henry said, “Thus many love
good preaching, if it keep far away from their beloved sin.” ii

But Herod’s heart was drawn to John’s words when he most likely
would have killed anyone else for saying such things to a king. The
word of God can pierce even the hardest hearts.

Herod was so intrigued by how honest John was. He was curious
about what God said about the darkness in his life so much so, he was
offended and disturbed every time. Yet something made him want to
keep coming back for more. Why? Conviction stings, but it also hurts
so good when we are open to listen. It’s like medicine alleviating our
pain. But when we do listen, evil begins to stir and its eye begins to fix
upon us. The system has been disrupted.

Herod began displaying righteousness. It wasn’t much, simply listen-
ing to God’s law and protecting John from danger. Evil began to whis-
per into Herodias’ ear. You see, sin and righteousness cannot coexist.

And so, the plot to kill John and behead him retreated into darkness
and grew in secret. It waited for its moment to strike when there was
no turning back and the damage was irrevocable.

Herod had already let sin in his life, but he didn’t know it. He didn’t
know what darkness was. But once righteousness and God’s love

entered his heart, sin was no longer a secret. He could not un-know
what he now knew. The antagonist of the story had been revealed.

Sides had been marked out. This was a pivotal moment. He was walk-
ing the tightrope now. The eye of evil fixated on him. He was no

longer considered an ally.

A flicker of light was now in the belly of the beast. What was waiting
and plotting in secret was ready to strike. Herod had a party; most
likely everyone was drunk and their defenses down. Men are weak
when it comes to lust and darkness knows that. It has distorted God’s
plan for sex for centuries now.

Herodias sent her own daughter to dance provocatively for Herod
and his guests. The level of sickness and darkness in their family was
being revealed now. He was too weak and too steeped in darkness to
overpower it—and darkness won. Herod told his nieceshe could have
whatever she wanted. And she wanted to fulfill the whispers of the
darkness. She asked her mother what she should ask for. The serpent
demanded John’s head to be cut off and served on a tray.

In that moment of her request to Herod, righteousness came back to
him like a scared child tugging on a father’s coat sleeve. Sadness filled

his heart because he was convicted, but he wasn’t a slave to righteous-
ness. He was bound to sin as his master and so John would have to die

for it.

When we know what sin is, and who Jesus is, we can’t unknow it. The
eye of evil will fixate on us, and the plot of our demise begins forming
in the darkness, preparing in the secret. It will wait to strike when it is
most painful and most damaging, often when it’s too late to turn
back. It will bring those closest to us into the game. The stakes will be

So where are we displaying righteousness that sounds the alarms of
darkness? Where should we be running toward righteousness before
darkness makes our path a tightrope and begins swaying back and

Where have we been so disturbed by the conviction of holiness that it
hurt so good because it revealed what was causing us to feel sick in the
first place? It’s like going to doctor after doctor and no one can tell

you what’s wrong and no medicine they prescribe can help, but sud-
denly you stumble onto the cure. Someone finally had the answer and

it hurt so good.

Who is our John the Baptist and who is our Herodias? Who is trying
to pull us into the light and who—or what—is our antagonist pulling
us into the darkness? When we display righteousness, even to the
smallest degree, we will incur darkness’ wrath. It will come for us. We
must prepare ourselves. As long-time believers, we should remember
sin has been plotting our demise long before we said yes to Jesus.

It’sbeen hating us in the secret for a long time now. It hated John all the
way to his death. It does not rest, and it does not have compassion.

We think we are protected, but Satan is cunning and if darkness can’t
get to us, it will go through our home and overstep every boundary to
bring us down. It will wait until the damage cannot be overturned. So,
we must be running toward Jesus, finding those Johns in our life who

will tell it to us straight and keep us walking in righteousness. We can-
not be like Herod who walked the line only to be overpowered be-
cause he was too steeped in darkness already.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father, but through me.” (John 14:6) Are we walking to the Father
or are we telling him we will be there in a minute, only giving darkness
more time to scheme? What vows have we compromised for the sake
of our own pleasure only to lead to the destruction of others? What
vows have we promised God only to break them to pursue our own
pleasure which leads to the destruction of ourselves and others?

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father, but through me.”

(John 14:6)

Sin grows best in the darkness. If you let a little darkness in, that’s all
it needs to come and corrupt a soul. If a little is permitted, more will
fester and poison until it consumes our minds and our actions. When
we know the power of Jesus, it will only be a matter of time before
darkness comes calling. Are we prepared?

What are we allowing in the secret?

Jared Bayless

As we grow in our wisdom and journey down the path to our final destination to be with Jesus, we leave breadcrumbs for those who will come after us. When we’ve found the narrow road, we leave breadcrumbs for the generations who will follow behind us and get distracted by the world and all its charms as it tries to distract and detour them away from righteousness.

We leave breadcrumbs for those who wonder if they even know where the path is anymore. As believers, we guide each other home. We look for the breadcrumbs of generations past, of the leaders who gave their lives for the gospel. We see the breadcrumbs and take heart. Other paths lead to death, but we have found the only path that will lead us out.

These are my breadcrumbs for anyone who needs to find Jesus again or who needs reminded to never give up and keep walking, even when it feels like you can’t take another step.

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